Superficially, Ex Machina ticks all the watch-me boxes. I’ve never really seen anything exactly like it before, and that is an unqualified compliment, but I don’t think I want to see anything like it again and that's down to a number of factors. It definitely aims to tweak and your specific reaction will hinge on your individual sensitivities; personally I detest the concept of mobile, transactional AI, so there's that no-thanks knee jerk from the start. Also: misogyny- Ex Machina is misogynistic in that gross, sneaky, half-pseudo post-modern observational way that masquerades as commentary whilst walking and quacking and pandering like an offensive duck. It could be argued that they were making a point, that I should have allowed myself to relate to a femmebot's plight blah blah but whatever; it is gratuitous, and the effect on my female self is the same. I didn't fucking appreciate it. At all.
There's quite a lot of room in my heart for abrasive but icky can sling its fucking hook.
From a purely commerciral POV it's not difficult to see why investors might have demurred; Only Lovers Left Alive is a snail-paced, half-stoned shuffle through the glitter, lint and otherness of expert-level boho, a kingdom so sadly eroded by the rapacious requirements of modern living that no one under 40 will probably know what the fuck Jarmusch is eulogising. This isn't everyone's cup of bananas. But that's cool.
Jarmusch's ride-along style and vampirism per se are the perfect vehicle and metaphor for the kind of leisurely creativity that is almost extinct. Proud custodians of mother-of-toilet-seat guitars and other practitioners will deeply appreciate Jim's loving documentation; rolling through the D, tinkering with vintage amps, sheltering one's genius against popular acclaim, books, evicting arrivistes, inhaling Tangier, competitive disinterest at shitty bars. Also the futile bitterness of loss, that empty grasp as one's slender cohort of like minds is whittled down by pitiless time.
We both loved Only Lovers Left Alive. Jarmusch’s films are like affirmations written on your arm with glitter pen for when we wake up the next day. There will always be Universal scale. And probably water in Detroit. Some things are eternal despite our fears for them. (Great soundtrack too).